How to Make the Perfect Hot Toddy with Tea

A good hot toddy is the perfect cozy tea-based drink for chilly weather. While you can make a hot toddy using plain hot water, using loose leaf tea as a base makes for an even tastier and more flavorful drink. We’re firm believers in enjoying hot toddies for pleasure, medicinal reasons, and to warm up on cold winter nights!


How to Make a Tea-Based Hot Toddy

The basic recipe for a hot toddy is pretty simple: add spirits, lemon juice, and honey to a base of hot tea, stir, and enjoy! That said, you can certainly fancy up a hot toddy by adding aromatic spices, garnishes, and additional ingredients.

Hot Toddy Ingredients

  • One cup of hot tea - You can use any tea you like as the base (see our recommendations below.)

  • Two ounces of spirits - Bourbon, brandy, and dark rum are all great options.

  • Lemon juice to taste - If you have it, fresh-squeezed lemon juice is ideal.

  • Honey to taste - Our organic Mt. Tam honey is lovely in a hot toddy.

  • Optional garnishes - Cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, and lemon or orange slices are all great additions.

Hot Toddy Instructions

Your hot toddy can be as simple or complex as you choose to make it. Adding a spoonful of honey, a squeeze of lemon, and a glug of bourbon to your tea is a perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) preparation method! Here’s a step-by-step guide to our go-to hot toddy recipe:

  1. Prepare your tea - Follow the preparation instructions for whatever tea you’ve decided on.

  2. Add your spirits - Stir about two ounces of whiskey, dark rum, or brandy into your tea.

  3. Add fresh lemon juice - Add lemon juice to taste, freshly squeezed if you’ve got it.

  4. Add honey - Add honey or another sweetener to taste.

  5. Garnish - You can garnish your hot toddy with a cinnamon stick, citrus slices, or other spices.

  6. Enjoy - For best results, we recommend enjoying a hot toddy along with a good book by a crackling fire.

The Best Tea for a Hot Toddy

While you can make a hot toddy using unflavored hot water, using tea as a base for a hot toddy adds a depth of flavor to this cozy drink. You can use whatever tea you want for a hot toddy, and any full-bodied, flavorful tea that can stand up well to the strong flavors of spirits and lemon is a good option. Here are some teas we recommend using for this recipe:

  • Assam - If you’re in the mood for a classic black tea-based hot toddy, you can’t go wrong with a hearty Assam. This bold black tea is full-bodied and malty, the perfect complement to the other ingredients in a hot toddy.

  • Earl Grey Francais - Earl Grey is flavored with bergamot, a small citrus fruit. Our Earl Grey Francais contains bergamot from France, which is extra flavorful and aromatic.

  • Orange Peel - A full-bodied black tea with orange peel, our organic Orange Peel is a great base for a hot toddy with citrusy notes.

  • Solstice Spice - Solstice Spice blends black tea with apple pieces, orange pieces, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cloves, and pink peppercorn for a warming, cozy spiced tea.

  • Honeybush Hot Cider - Want to make a tea-based toddy without the caffeine? Honeybush Hot Cider Herbal Tea is a great option. This tea starts with a honeybush base, blended with apple pieces, cinnamon, chamomile, orange peel, and licorice root.

  • Egyptian Chamomile - Light, fragrant, and naturally sweet chamomile makes a lovely hot toddy base, flavorful enough to lend floral notes to the drink without outshining the other ingredients.


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